Why is coding 'pixel perfect designs' so painful?

Marc Gahan
1 reply
Design collaboration tools have become increasingly popular in the last years. Designers have greatly benefited from tools such as Figma to complete their work in an increasingly intuitive, organized, easy and quicker manner. Collaboration with other functions in the business like marketing or engineering has also dramatically improved. As a developer though, there is one thing I am still bitter about – Implementing Pixel perfect Designs. I have extensive experience in software development and trust me, there are not many things that make me as frustrated as endless iterations of a pixel perfect design implementation. I am outlining my reasons below: 1) Autonomy – Everybody likes to have some degree of self-government when it comes to work. When I spend so much time implementing small design changes in web/mobile apps I feel like I have been stripped out of my professional freedom. This just gets multiplied when as a team we are not using cross platform frameworks. 2) Understanding – I strongly believe in the massive value add of designers’ work, however, I need to admit that I sometimes do not understand certain iterations I get asked for. I do not demand to be explained exactly all the reasons for every change, but as many people in the workplace, us developers also appreciate being involved in the process and being able to contribute in a timely manner. 3) Professional Development – Have you ever wondered why more experienced developers generally shy away from front-end development? Yes, I am generalizing, but the continuous development of skills and education it takes to be a successful back-end developer are greater than what it takes to be a front-end developer. Back-end provides you with a longer steep learning curve, something that definitely does not come with implementing pixel perfect designs. These are my experiences and would love to hear what are your thoughts. I, in the meanwhile, am working on a solution to convert my Figma designs into Flutter widgets. Wish me luck! https://codis.io/

Replies

Tedel
made in Peru
One-man SEO and web-design army here… Because people like to complicate themselves too much. Allow me to elaborate: If you are going to design a *web page* (a website is just a set of web pages, isn't it?), you should have a goal in your mind. Your goal must never be "it must looks nice". That is the least important thing. What you need to agree with your team are the other goals: - How we express what we will offer on those web pages - How we get people to achieve our goals (that is, how we have them click where we need them to click so that we can make money) - How do we prepare all the material to make things work (texts, images, videos, etc.) Once you have all that, you should discuss the design, preferably, in this order: 1. Speak with the SEO guys, so they can tell everyone else what they need. 2. Speak with the creation guys (those who will write the texts, create the illustrations, etc.) 3. Speak with the developer guys (those who will need to make things display on the screen and make clicks do what they must) 4. Have the SEO guys talk for hours with the developer guys 5. Once everything is clear, then, and only then, start developing. If you keep that order you prevent two very important issues: - UX issues (SEO and design clash) - Re-coding (SEO and developer clash) People tend to "just do their job", and the usual consequences are these: - SEO guys tells creation guys that we need to rewrite the texts and other pieces of information - SEO guys tell developers that code is too heavy, and we need to recode - Creation guys get upset because they have to work again - Developers get upset because they have to work again - The manager gets upset because they must pay additional hours for something that is already done. - Everybody asks the SEO guys why they did not say any of that earlier. It has happened to me soooo many bloooooody times that I decided to work alone a long time ago. =) My 0.02.